Ontario youth and adults consume contraband cigarettes that are not legally certified for smoking by province authorities. Strategy for control of tobacco consumption is possible by increased public awareness and enforcement of regulations as per Tobacco Control Strategy of Ontario government.

Contraband cigarettes are cheaper than the branded labels. They are manufactured from US and Canadian native reserves and smuggled to Ontario. Scientists from The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) studied the smoking habits of Ontario high school students and adults. 50% of 9-12 grade students smoke at least one contraband cigarette each day.

CAMH is Canada’s largest hospital for mental health and addiction and finds mention in world’s list of foremost research centers for mental health and addiction.Dr. Russell Callaghan, CAMH scientist and principal investigator of this study is quoted as - "This form of tobacco consumption is particularly worrisome, Because of lower prices and lack of restrictions on purchase, youth are able to afford and access them more readily than regulated tobacco products." About 43% of cigarettes consumed daily by students of Ontario high school are illegal imports from US and Canada.

The main reason for failure of counter efforts by Ontario government is attributed to widespread access of contraband tobacco. Strategies for tobacco control like taxation, preventing sale of tobacco products to minors are in practice in Ontario. Smoking rates of youth and adults is 11% and 18.7% respectively. Implementing these rules has decreased the smoking of contraband cigarettes in adults since 2003. But Ontario youth continue to maintain a high rate of smoking till date.

It is in the hands of the government to curb this dangerous public practice. Dr. Callaghan adds that “It is important to implement strict policies to regulate the cigarette manufacturing supplies going into native reserves, as well as prevent smuggling of contraband tobacco from the US".

This study complements recommendations of Tobacco Control Strategy released by province of Ontario. Data for this research was collected from 2009 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) and results published in the most recent edition of Tobacco Control.

Published by Medicaldaily.com